By Chandran Nair

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia-During this time every year, over a billion Muslims all over the world who are in good health wake up before dawn for Sahur, a morning meal, before prayers and fasting for the rest of the day.

After prayers at sundown, which signifies the end of their daily fast, or Iftar, is the time when families and friends come together at the end of the day to share meals and spend time together.

The practice of abstaining from food and water represents more than just a religion’s call to endure hardship and practice discipline. It encourages its followers to abstain from certain pleasures that when indulged in excess are considered detrimental to the mind and body.

It is also a time of reflection and study.

This video montage provides a glimpse into the way the tradition is observed in many parts of the world, from Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world) to Russia, Pakistan, China, and Iran.

In appreciation of the spirit of Ramadan, many non-Muslims have also adopted the practice in recent years.

The appreciation and respect for religions, culture, and traditions outside of our own is what makes a tolerant society and should be a defining feature of human progress.

As we mark the end of Ramadan and the start of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Eid al-Fitr, I would like to wish everyone a safe journey home to their families, and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Eid Mubarak.

Maaf zahir dan batin.

*Chandran Nair is Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT), an independent pan-Asian think tank.*